‘See’ vs ‘Sea’: What’s the Difference?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on March 3, 2023

‘See’ and ‘sea’ sound exactly alike, but what’s the difference? You might be wondering how to use them and pronounce them if you’ve only read the words. Well, we can help teach you what the word means and how to use it in a sentence correctly. You’ll also learn how to pronounce the words correctly.

Need a quick answer? The difference is:

  • ‘See’ is a verb that means to view, witness, or to understand.
  • ‘Sea’ is a noun that refers to a large body of water, usually partly or completely surrounded by land.

These two words might sound the same, but they mean different things. That’s why you should never use them interchangeably.

Word Choice: Sea vs. See

We’ve just learned that both words sound the same but mean different things, making them homophones.

‘Sea’ is a noun and refers to a large body of water, which is usually partly or completely surrounded by land.

For example:

  • There’s The Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Caribbean Sea, the Black Sea, and more.

‘See’ is a verb that means to view, witness, or understand.

For example:

  • When you wake up, you see everything in your line of sight.

Or you might tell someone you understand them or the point they made by saying:

  • “I see.” (which means "I understand" or "I get what you mean")

‘See’ vs. ‘Sea’ – What’s the Difference?

The difference between these words other than spelling is that the former means to view or witness something or understand it, and the latter means a large body of water usually surrounded by water (or partially surrounded).

Definition of ‘Sea: What Does ‘Sea’ Mean?

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘Sea’ is:

  • A great body of salt water that covers much of the earth
  • Ocean
  • An inland body of water
  • Surface motion on a large body of water or its direction
  • Something like the sea
  • The seafaring life

Some phrases you might have heard involving this word are ‘at sea’ (lost) or ‘to sea’ (to or on the open waters of the sea).

Definition of ‘See’: What Does ‘See’ Mean? 

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘See’ as:

  • To perceive with the eye
  • To be aware of (recognize)
  • To imagine as a possibility (suppose)
  • To form a mental picture of (visualize)
  • To perceive the meaning or importance of (understand)
  • To come to know (discover)
  • To examine or watch
  • To read
  • To accompany or escort
  • To call

Some phrases you might have heard involving the word ‘see’ include:

  • See the light (to discover or realize some kind of truth)
  • See red (to become very angry)
  • See eye to eye (to agree)
  • See the light of day (become publicly known or available)
  • See things (hallucinate)
  • See to (to care for)

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘See’ and ‘Sea’

Are you wondering how to pronounce these words? Here’s a short guide.

To pronounce both words correctly, here’s the phonetic spelling:


How to Use ‘See’ and ‘Sea’ in a Sentence

Let’s take a look at some examples of how to use these words in a sentence.


  • I see you’ve been promoted over the weekend. Congratulations, and keep up the good work, and more promotions will be coming.
  • I see you don’t miss a beat when you’re out for one day. Look how much you got done in just the span of a few hours.
  • We’re going to the movie theater to see the new Spiderman movie.
  • I love to see young people doing something productive with their time. It makes me hopeful for the future.
  • I see that your stutter is gone. How did you manage to get rid of it?


  • I’ve never been out to sea before. Even though my dad was a captain, I’ve never been interested in the open water.
  • When I took a cruise, I brought a handful of books to read.
  • When I was a kid, I learned that The Red Sea has over 1200 species of fish and 250 species of coral.
  • Did you know that The Black Sea is the world’s largest body of water with a meromictic basin? I have this cool nonfiction book that talks all about it.

Final Advice on ‘See’ and ‘Sea’

To recap, we learned that:

  • ‘See’ is a verb, and it means to view, witness, or to understand.
  • ‘Sea’ is a noun, and it refers to a large body of water, usually partly or completely surrounded by land, such as The Black Sea.

These two words might sound the same, but they mean totally different things. Avoid using them interchangeably.

If you ever have trouble with anything, don’t hesitate to come back here to review what you learned. We’ve also got a ton of other content on confusing words and phrases you might see while learning the language.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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